Let Not Your Left Hand Know That Your Right Hand Is Donating

All the religions encourage anonymous donor’s charity that kept as a secret and does not draw attention of public to both the donor and the recipient. Letting not our right hand know what our left hand is doing makes our charity more effective.

In some countries recipient organizations used to ‘advertized’ the act of donation and donors so that others who wish to be famous as Philanthropists follow suit (it means = follow the lead and/or follow blindly i.e. w/o thinking).

There is a teaching by Lord Buddha, “Although donate the size of banyan tree one will reap the merits the size of a banyan seed. But if the deed is pure, although donate the size of a banyan seed one could get the great benefits the size of banyan tree.

Matthew 6:2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

I remember the teachings in Islam which related that if someone donate or do some good deeds, Allah would reward according to the donor’s intentions. If he just wish to be famous as a Philanthropists, Allah would allow him to be famous but would not reward anymore. If do the charity works or other forms of Ibadats (any form of worshipping: namaz or salat or fasting etc) for the sake of Allah but not to show off, than Allah would reward fully.

The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said: “He is not a believer who goes to bed having eaten his fill while his neighbour remains hungry and he is aware of that fact.”

Islam encourages donations: Zakat (regular obligatory charity), (voluntary) charity, Al-Waqf (Religious endowment) and etc. Donations could be more than monetary donations. It could be in many other forms because human requirements are more than financial needs, but also included other different forms such as consultation, advice, friendship, education, medical support, military support, political support, moral support, psychological support, spiritual support, social support, kindness and other forms of donation e.g.  Allowing refuge or asylum or accepting a traveller to stay in your house as a guest.

An example of a random acts of kindness: At the toll plazas everyone just wants to rush through SmartTag or Touch and Go lanes. On the cash lane, you have the opportunity to surprise the driver behind you by paying his toll, and you can see how grateful he is as he passes you by. I believe such simple gestures can contribute towards minimising road rage incidents. It is good for the soul of both the giver and the receiver.

A beggar went from one table to another begging for scraps of food. A doctor having his lunch at the coffeeshop went up to the beggar, asked him what he wanted to eat, sat him down, and paid for his meal.

The beggar finished the meal and left without saying anything to the doctor.

The doctor was upset. Why didn’t the beggar say thanks? Who does the beggar think he is?

In the end, the doctor realised the question was not so much who the beggar thought he was but who he (the doctor) thought he was.

Many of us would have reacted the same way. Often we act kindly and then are surprised when our act of kindness is not appreciated.

So what is true kindness? Let me share with you a true story.

Some years back, a very dear friend, now departed, passed by a dishevelled man sitting on the pavement daily as she went through her chores.

After months of ignoring this person, she felt she could not just walk by without doing anything.

She offered him a bun to eat. She did that daily for two weeks and then he disappeared. She searched for him and found him.

He was sick. So she brought him to the doctor. And then she brought him home. For six months, she and her family cared for this man, a total stranger, and nursed him back to good health.

They learnt about his family in India and how he had been separated from them for 35 years. One thing led to another and the family was located. Gifts of money began to pour in from sympathetic friends who’d heard his story. They paid for his passage home, with new clothes and presents to take home for his family.

No one knows what happened after that. And it didn’t really matter. Not to this dear old lady who first took him in anyway. To her, it was not so much the kindness she extended to him, but how much she was blessed by this man



  1. Social Solidarity & Social Security in Islam
  2. Improve Your Charitable Giving: Let Not Your Left Hand Know What Your Right Is Doing.
  3. The Star:What is true kindness? Monday Starters – By Soo Ewe Jin http://thestar.com.my/columnists/story.asp?
  4. Bible translation Matthew
  5. Islamic, Buddhist and Christian teachings.

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